The company initially launched LevelUp as a pilot project in Boston and Philadelphia. The app allows consumers to pay for goods and services via an iOS or Android app that is based around dynamic QR codes, drawing on game mechanics for payments.
Then in June this year, SCVNGR raised $12m from Google Ventures, and others, before going on to drop all merchant fees the following month. And today, the company finally announced NFC (near field communication) support, courtesy of a shiny new piece of hardware.
The company says that it plans to support any and all ways consumers want to pay with their smartphones, including QR codes, NFC and ultrasonic signals.
Though it remains to be seen, evidence increasingly suggests that the new iPhone 5 may include NFC technology when it (probably) launches next week. And even if the new iPhone doesn’t support NFC, anyone with an NFC-enabled Android can still pay using LevelUp’s new terminals.
It’s worth noting that the new hardware will still support QR code scanning as well. “It’s always been super important to us to make LevelUp work for any and every consumer on the planet,” says Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja at LevelUp. “Our goal is to have LevelUp be the universal way to pay with whatever phone you may have, at whatever place you may be, whatever carrier you’re on, whatever card you want to use and whatever tech you prefer. For us, that means being as open as possible to both consumer technologies and merchant point-of-sale systems to make the experience as simple as possible.”
As with the previous incarnation of the hardware, it will be available free of charge to merchants. And, over time, it says it will support merchants in upgrading to the new NFC-enabled terminals.
In addition to Google Ventures, SCVNGR has also received backing from Balderton Capital, Continental Advisors, Highland Capital, Transmedia Capital and T-Venture, the venture arm of Deutsche-Telekom.